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Federal Foresight: Bridging the Gap Between Budgets and Tech Advancements

Updated: Feb 28

Over the past few months, the Federal government has been busy defining its financial roadmap for the upcoming fiscal year. While the appropriations cycle has its own cadence, requiring budget justifications well in advance of legislative actions, there’s been a commendable drive to sync these timelines. Recognizing the rapid evolution of technology, the government acknowledges the need to be nimble to ensure public and private sectors harness the wave of tech innovations. What’s more impressive is that our public servants do this in the middle of the live-fire exercise of our democracy. As I write this, a shutdown looms, and while the Senate has introduced a continuing resolution to at least float critical services at a 2023 baseline, passage of that resolution is unlikely. Still, one hopes that the work done to this point to protect the government’s vision for technology investment holds. 

Regardless of any political machinations, it’s worth noting that the government has often been instrumental in the scaling and success of various technological breakthroughs, even with a lengthy acquisition process. Examples like the state of Georgia partnering with Boeing and Lockheed Martin for the F-22 or the government’s support for the “Electrify America” program highlight this significant role. The CHIPS Act further showcases the government’s influence, aiming to incentivize chipset manufacturers to localize their supply chains. Given the Federal government’s unparalleled purchasing power, its potential to lead and shape the global economy is unmatched. 

There’s excitement for the coming fiscal year, with speculation about the Federal budget’s commitment to emerging technologies like AI. Several departments are championing considerable AI budgets, illustrating the growing recognition of its importance. It’s essential to align these budgets closely with market developments, ensuring decisions are made based on robust data and not missing out on innovative opportunities. For instance, while departments like the Department of Defense (DoD) are actively investing in new tech frontiers, others, like the Department of Commerce, seem more reserved. Still, with its expansive program portfolio, Commerce has an array of potential AI applications at its disposal. While the department is showcasing some potential use cases for AI, the next step is to transition from ideation to actual investment. There’s an opportunity for a harmonized approach, aligning budgeting, planning, and execution seamlessly. Given the vast potential of AI applications, there’s a collective hope to see all sectors of the Federal government engage proactively, similar to the way DoD is pioneering. 

Innovation is not an ideological battle, and technology thrives when it is truly democratized. The government is the tip of that spear, creating a level playing field for the market through responsible regulation and incentivizing competition. No one political party has a monopoly on technology, and in the event influential ideologues attempt to disrupt the natural flow of innovation, our system is biased toward the free market. With its influential purchasing power and track record as a tech catalyst, the government is positioned to usher in an era of accelerated innovation. The challenge lies in enhancing the budgeting and acquisition processes to keep up with rapid tech advancements. As we move forward, it’s imperative for the government to not only acknowledge its crucial role in tech evolution but to act confidently and expeditiously.  

If your agency seeks guidance in technology market research and investment planning, reach out to Itero Group. We offer insights from both the public and private sectors, and can help shape your investment strategy and accelerate your outcomes.


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